Babysitter denied bond in 1-year-old boy's death

Maria Mendez-Briones
Maria Mendez-Briones

DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The babysitter charged in the death of a 1-year-old boy was denied bond Friday.

Maria Mendez-Briones, 30, of Summerville, was arrested by the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office and charged her with one count of homicide by child abuse.

According to the Dorchester County Coroner's Office, Jeramy Marquez Castro was beaten in the head until he was unconscious and died Wednesday night. The coroner says the baby died of brain swelling from multiple blunt force.

Deputies say Mendez-Briones was the victim's babysitter and that evidence shows she struck the boy in the head several times, which later caused his death. Dorchester County Sheriff L.C. Knight said that Mendez-Briones confessed to hurting the child.

Mendez-Briones' attorney, David Aylor, said in court Friday that his client had babysat for the Castro family four months without any problems. Mendez-Briones doesn't speak English and needed a translator in court Friday when a judge denied bond and could face a life sentence if convicted. She is being held in the Dorchester County Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing.

The incident occurred Wednesday night when deputies with the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office and emergency officials responded to Jennings Drive in Dorchester County in reference to a call of an unresponsive child.

Deputies started CPR before EMS arrived at the scene, but despite everyone's efforts, the baby died.

The coroner's office reports that the boy's mother did not know what happened until she called to say she was picking the victim and her other children up from the babysitter.

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